Snippet Saturday: Author’s Choice

Author’s choice today — so I say, how about a little more about Sandy and Troy from Hidden Heat?

Copyright © 2012 Leah Braemel
All rights reserved — a Samhain Publishing, Ltd. publication

[H]is thumb began making circles on the inner flesh of her wrist. Who knew that part of her hand could be an erogenous zone? None of her other boyfriends had made that connection before. She pressed her thighs together at the promise in his words. From the heat in his expression, this was most definitely a date.

Not trusting her voice, she nodded. Only when the waiter arrived with their food did Troy release her. The rest of the meal he found whatever excuse he could to touch her. Reaching for the salt, refilling her wineglass, handing her the dessert menu. Each time he touched her, his eyes locked on hers.

“Taste this.” He held a spoonful of his crème brulee to her lips. Electricity zinged through her body, bouncing beneath her skin like a summer field filled with fireflies. His gaze locked on her lips, her tongue, as she cleaned the spoon with light licks. He lowered the spoon only to lift it, filled again, with yet another command to taste the creamy dessert. By the time they finished, every inch of her body was ready to spontaneously combust. The wait for the check seemed interminable and she found herself squirming, trying to find relief from the need he’d spawned.

Less than ten minutes after they’d pulled out of the restaurant’s parking lot, Troy parked the SUV by her apartment building’s front door. The hand he placed on the small of her back as they walked to the building firmed her resolve. It’s not that she’d never considered Troy that way before but now he was really here, touching her, and her body simmered with anticipation.

She waited until the elevator doors closed and then turned to face him. Reminding herself he’d already kissed her once, she curled her fingers around the collar of his coat and tugged him closer. With her stilettos, she was almost his height. All she had to do was tilt her face and press her lips against his. His body went rigid for a moment, then his lips parted and his tongue brushed hers.

Warmth quickly spread from his lips through the rest of her body, caressing and curling around her breasts until they were heavy, her nipples hard, weakening her knees. He slid his hands down her side and around to cup her backside. The heady scent of her arousal wafted between them, her panties dampening as he rocked his erection against her mound.

Intoxicated to be in his arms once again, to be under his control, Sandy lost herself in the kiss until the elevator bounced to a stop and the door slid open.

“This is your floor.” Though he’d broken the kiss, his hands didn’t move from their place on her ass.

“So it is.” Reluctantly, she stepped back and captured his hand before it dropped to his side. She led him down the hall, fumbling one-handed in her purse for her keys, afraid that if she let go of him he’d find an excuse to leave. The key turned in the lock and she pushed the door wide. There were no lights on, and Jazz’s boots weren’t in their usual place on the boot mat. Xander looked up from where he’d curled on the couch then dismissed them as unimportant.

To her disappointment, Troy attempted to extract his hand from hers. “I should go.”

“No,” she whispered. “You should stay.”

She stepped into her apartment and tugged. He resisted a moment, then took one step—only one—across the threshold before he stopped and shook his head. “This isn’t a good idea, Sandy.”

Perhaps not, but it was exactly what she needed. Besides, if they had any chance at having a relationship, he needed to know from the beginning exactly what she expected.

This story is full of action, lots of hot guys, plenty of sex and even some drama. ~ Terri, Night Owl Reviews

Not caring that the door was open, she tossed her coat on the couch, disturbing the cat. She undid the remaining buttons on her blouse and shrugged out of it. Struck by the cool air, her nipples furled into hard buds beneath the lace of her bra. “I want you to stay. All night.”

His eyes closed and his Adam’s apple bobbed as he swallowed hard. “I may want things you aren’t prepared to give.”

“I won’t know until you ask me, will I?” Before he could say no, she let the silk fall to the floor at her feet, then she captured his hand and pressed his warm palm against her breast. “This is what I want. Trust me.”


Buy it now from Amazon.com | Barnes & Noble | Samhain
Diesel Books | Kobo | Sony Reader


Don’t forget to visit the other Snippet Saturday participants:

Megan Hart:Read in bed!
Rhian Cahill
Eliza Gayle
Jody Wallace
Mandy M Roth
Lissa Matthews
Mari Carr
McKenna Jeffries
Myla Jackson
Taige Crenshaw
Delilah Devlin
HelenKay Dimon
Shiloh Walker
Shelli Stevens
Zoë Archer
Lauren Dane

New Review for Hidden Heat

I love waking up in the morning and discovering a good review, especially after having a challenging day yesterday in my non-writing life.

This one is a 5 Ribbon review from Chrissy over at The Romance Junkies…

“Leah Braemel continues her utterly charming HAUBERK PROTECTION series with its newest release HIDDEN HEAT. Sandy and Troy complement each other beautifully. They’re headstrong, trustworthy, adventurous, and emotionally detached – or at least that’s how they are with most people. Together they’re combustible. If you’ve read the other titles in the series you’re well aware of the unique friendships, inner office romances and sometimes dangerous situations that are such a driving force throughout this series, but with HIDDEN HEAT there’s a deeper element that caught my attention – the inner turmoil Sandy and Troy face while trying to come to grips with their pasts and what could potentially be a happy future. Once again Ms. Braemel pens a brilliant storyline that incites many emotions in the reader – including laughter and some serious head shaking. HIDDEN HEAT is a powerful and fun story full of all the emotion, sensuality and suspense that I’ve come to really enjoy in Ms. Braemel’s writing.”

Thanks, Chrissy!

Click to get to Romance Junkies to read the whole review

Randomness

To give you an insight into the way my brain is hopping around today, here’s some of the things I’m pondering. Yes, it’s the next installment of Pinky’s POV* time!

1. I read. Gizmo Guy reads. Curly sometimes reads. Therefore our house is filled with books. There are book shelves in every room in this house. Including the bathroom. Yes, that’s right, we read in the bathroom. So why should I be surprised that almost every day in the past few months, Seamus has decided to try to read too? Except his version of reading is by tasting them. Now, the thing is, I keep MY books up high, out of areas where he can get them. Yet he’s still managed to get an Ann Aguirre book, a Kelley Armstrong book, and this…

Luckily enough the chewing sound I was hearing that alerted me to his latest acquisition was not him actually chewing on the book, unlike my Kelley Armstrong book. He was chewing on the blanket. This time. Now I’ll have to go around on my hands and knees and get a dog-eyed view of where he’s finding my stash.

2. I started reading a book by a new-to-me but well-established well-loved romantic suspense author the other day. I was enjoying the writing right up until the hero (a cop) told the heroine (not a cop) that she had to stay in the truck/car/vehicle/whatever while he went to checked out her house and make sure it was safe. Did she stay in the car? Nope. I put the book down and haven’t picked it up since. I have far too many books on my TBR to deal with Too Stupid To Live heroines and that’s put me off reading that author again. I probably will try her again, but another year or more may pass. But it does make me wonder about the five star reviews she’s getting for it. I guess it’s not a big deal for other readers, but I still made another note (I have a ton, usually all saying the same thing) on my “Do Not Do This” list reminding me not to let my heroine do it.

3. Luckily, the next book I read by another author had her hero go into a dangerous situation while the heroine was along — he told her heroine to stay in the truck, and the smart girl stayed safe. That one I finished. And enjoyed. Well done, Jill Shalvis in At Last. (Loved that book by the way.)

4. Talking about my TBR pile, at the top of my pile were 11 (yes, you read that right) books I have to read (on deadline) for two separate contests. I signed up for them months apart, but both sets of books arrived at about the same time. Luckily one contest deadline isn’t for a few months yet, but 5 of them had to be finished in the next two weeks. I’ve 2 left to go in that category. And I think I may have to disqualify one book for being in the wrong category, which will make my job easier.

5. While I was walking Seamus this morning, I took my iPhone along and did some blog reading. (Trying to be efficient and multitask.) I read a blog where someone was ruminating about if they’d still write if they didn’t make any money at it. That particular author said resounding no. While I understand her reasoning, I’m in the other camp. I’d still write. I have written without being paid since I was in grade school. I kept writing when I graduated and never showed a single soul, therefore never got a dime. Writing is my catharsis, it is my outlet for the voices in my head. Just because I do or don’t get a paycheck doesn’t mean those voices are going to shut up. The difference would be that I could write much more leisurely — no deadlines, no readers asking “when’s the next book out?” the day of a new release. No critics, no bad reviews (of course, no good reviews either). I could kill off a character if I wanted to. Yeah, I’d still keep writing. I’d just have more time to see daylight, to enjoy movies and books and say hi to my family, time that I’ve lost thanks to all the frickin’ social media and promotion that is required when you’re professionally published. Maybe some of the fun of writing would come back.

As you can see that, unlike Brain of Pinky and the Brain, I’m not plotting to take over the world.

That’s because I’m more like Pinky, than Brain.

Lucky 7 Challenge

I just got a message from Twitter that I’d been tagged by author Suzanna Medeiros on her blog. So I wandered over and found that being “tagged” is a challenge to post 7 lines from a Work-in-Progress. I’m game.

So here’s a 7 line snippet from page 7 of the next in my Hauberk series. It’s still a work-in-progress so whether these lines stay in the final product are still in question. But I like them so I’m fairly confident they’ll survive edits, though they may be cleaned up a bit…

Sunlight slanted in when the door opened, a piercing brightness against the gloom of the bar’s dark wood. Or maybe it was just brighter because of the person who had opened the door. Andy shifted in his seat as Jazz walked to the bar and spoke to Rusty. How she managed to walk so gracefully in those spikey mile-high heels he hadn’t a clue but she struck a comfortable pose as she leaned on the counter, cocking her hip and bending one knee.

He swore the entire male population of the bar shifted to hide their hard-ons while they ogled the natural cleavage displayed to advantage by the three buttons she’d left undone. Every masculine eye in the place traced the long length of her legs, from the hem of her barely-there skirt over her porcelain-smooth thighs and tight calves. Every eye lingered on the trim ankles and sparkly red nail polish of her toes before beginning the trip back up, with another long pause at the bare skin of her belly beneath the white shirt she’d tied at her waist.

THE RULES

Post seven lines from a current work by doing these few things…

  • Go to page 7 or 77 in your current manuscript (fiction or non-fiction)
  • Go to Line 7
  • Post the next 7 lines or sentences on your blog as they are (no cheating, please)Tag 7 other authors to do the same

Now I have to tag 7 authors — so I chose 7 romance authors at random from my “mentions” section on Twitter:

Tagged authors:

  1. Donna Alward
  2. Dee Carney
  3. Savannah Chase
  4. Trina Lee
  5. Julie Rowe
  6. Cristal Ryder
  7. Kris Starr

Snippet Saturday: Woo woo!

Woo. (for some reason I always think of the priest in the Princess Bride when I hear the word…you know the guy who talks about “mawwage”?)

woo   [woo]
verb (used with object)
1.
to seek the favor, affection, or love of, especially with a view to marriage. Synonyms: court, pursue, chase. *

*from http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/woo?s=t

It’s an old fashioned term gone out of favor. Same as courting, or even dating are terms that have gone out of style. But it’s that time when the couple are doing that delicate dance as they try to decide if they suit. Some couples decide a lot quicker than others. In Texas Tangle, Nikki and Brett had begun the dance back in high school. But something happened that drove Brett away, though Nikki has only recently learned what happened. She’s been dating Brett’s best friend, Dillon, but everyone’s realized the attraction is still there…so they’re going on their first “date”…


[A]lmost an hour later, she came out of the bedroom to find Brett waiting outside, wearing a somber black suit and striped tie. He drove her to a Dallas restaurant, complete with waiters in tuxes. The menu the maitre d’ handed her didn’t have prices on it, but she suspected the bill could have paid the month’s mortgage.

“You keep staring at me.” She touched her hand to her hair. “Is there something wrong? Tell me I don’t have something stuck between my teeth.”

wickedly addictive and an emotionally stimulating love story… ~ Book Junkie

He shook his head. “I just can’t believe we’re here. Together.” He reached across the table and twined their fingers together. “You have no idea how long I’ve wanted to take you to dinner. Out on a date.”

His intensity flowed across the table, winding along her arm and around her body. How had she lived with him, sat across from him at breakfast and lunch each day for the past weeks and not noticed the raw sexuality surrounding him? How had she not noticed the tiny scar above his left eyebrow, or how his eyes with the darker blue ring around a sky blue center dominated his rugged features? Had he always looked at her with such longing? No, not longing, it was more than that. His look promised long nights of mind-numbing kisses followed by slow tender sessions where he explored every inch of her body.

The need for him had her drawing a shaky breath and pressing her thighs together in an effort to ease the growing ache. Why didn’t it feel wrong to be attracted to two men at the same time?

“Nik? Are you all right?”

All she could do was nod her head.

On the drive back, silence hung between them like a dark curtain. Every now and then, Brett took his hand off the steering wheel to touch her knee or caress her hand. Before she knew it they were out of the city and heading down the interstate toward Dillon’s. “Thank you for not suggesting we stay at a hotel tonight.”

He glanced over at her. “I have to admit I seriously considered it. But I figured if I made reservations, you’d feel obligated to have sex with me. I don’t want you to feel obligated to me for anything, Nik. Especially not for sex.”

“I don’t feel obligated.” Horny as hell, yes. Needy, achy, those too. Obligated? Not a chance.

“I don’t want to pressure you, Nik. If we’re going to take things to the next level, I want it to happen in its own time and for the right reasons.”

“What if now’s the right time?” she whispered.

He brought her hand to his mouth. The gentle way he pressed his lips to her knuckles scorched her. “I’d love to, but I want you to be sure about this. About us. It could ruin all our friendships—you, me, Dillon. It could change things between us completely.”

“I know.” She rubbed her thumb over his. It would change things. But she’d promised Dillon to give Brett a chance. “Does it bother you that I’ve made love to Dillon?”

Another mile passed before he answered. “Does it bother you that I’ve made love to other women?”

“No. You weren’t going with me, so why would I hold your past against you? But you know what I mean. I don’t want to come between you two. Not again.”

“What happened in the past wasn’t your fault. What happened this time isn’t your fault either. Way back when this all started, you asked me if I was interested in you and I wasn’t honest with you. I’m the one at fault. Not you.” Even in the dim lighting of the dashboard, she could see his fingers tighten around the steering wheel. “I shouldn’t have even suggested this date. I should have just walked away.”

Yet he hadn’t.

“Maybe we need to look at tonight the same as ripping off a bandage.”

“What do you mean?” He glanced sideways at her.

“Maybe we should get the sex out of the way right at the start. Make sure we click together in bed. That we don’t bore each other or do something that turns each other off. Why waste time?”

Holy shit, was she really suggesting this? But at least they wouldn’t waste months dithering. That way if they didn’t click, she’d walk away without a second thought. Not that sex was the most important part in a relationship but for all she knew, Brett could turn out a dud in the sack. As shallow as it made her feel, she wasn’t prepared to put up with another long stretch of boredom in bed. And maybe, ten, twenty years down the road, she’d at least be able to say she hadn’t jumped into the bed of the first man who invited her. That she’d…well, shopped around didn’t exactly sit right with her, but it was the closest comparison she could come up with.

Brett must have felt the same way. “That makes it sound like you’re taking me out for a test drive.”

She forced a smile, although she knew it lacked conviction, and shook her head. “You know what I mean. I want to know how we are together in bed. Dillon won’t be home for a while yet so we won’t have to worry about him listening.”

“It didn’t bother you that I was in the next room listening to you and Dillon the past couple of weeks.” His tone was flat, a muscle in his jaw twitching betraying his struggle at control. He shook his head. “Sorry, that didn’t come out the way I wanted it to. It’s just…listening to Dillon, knowing…”

“Hey, I didn’t know how you felt,” she reminded him gently. “Neither did Dillon. We weren’t trying to show off or make you jealous or anything.”

“I know.” He pulled the car off on the side of the road. After he’d put it in park, he half turned in his seat. “I’m not saying you were trying to rub my face in anything. It just damned near killed me listening to what was going on.” He exhaled noisily. “Dillon’s so fuckin’ loud, it was hard to ignore.”

She couldn’t stop the giggle that bubbled up. “Yeah, he is.” Her smile faded as she imagined how she would have felt if she’d had to listen to Wade fucking one of his girlfriends while she was in the next room. God, that must have been hell for Brett to lie in the next room and have to listen to their lovemaking.

“Look, I know Dillon’s said it’s okay for me to date you, but I don’t want to get in his face about it. I feel like I’m poaching on his territory. And frankly, I’m still worried he’ll get pissed off, not only with me but with you too.”

“Dillon’s the one who suggested that we should go out on a date. He made me promise to give you a chance. I’m not one to break a promise, Brett. I like you. And we both know there’s something between us, some spark we need to work out before I can make a decision.” She lifted his hand to rub his knuckles over her cheeks. The heat in his eyes told her he wasn’t as unaffected as he tried to pretend. “Let’s just go home and see what happens from there. All right?”

Nodding, Brett eased the car back onto the road. Less than ten minutes later, he parked in front of Dillon’s house.

She held her breath when he leaned over and kissed her. Instead of a careful kiss on her cheek, he pressed his lips against hers. She stiffened for a second, then parted her lips slightly, accepting his advance.

He tasted of a lingering essence of the wine they’d shared earlier and a crisp, unique flavor that set her head spiraling into a vortex of need.

He buried his fingers in her hair, pulling her hard against him, taking control of the kiss, thrusting his tongue into her mouth. Warmth flooded her belly, and she moaned.

“God, how many times did I hear you do that through the bedroom wall and wish it was me?” he muttered around the kiss.

The ten years since they’d last kissed compressed as if it had been a day, then floated away. She forgot they were in the front seat of his car, forgot they were parked in front of Dillon’s house. Only the two of them existed in the world.


Buy the Book at

Carina Press ~ Amazon Kindle
~ All Romance eBooks ~
Barnes & Noble ~ Kobo ~ Sony


Don’t forget to visit the other Snippet Saturday participants:

Megan Hart:Read in bed!
Rhian Cahill
Eliza Gayle
Jody Wallace
Mandy M Roth
Lissa Matthews
Mari Carr
McKenna Jeffries
Myla Jackson
Taige Crenshaw
Delilah Devlin
HelenKay Dimon
Shiloh Walker
Lauren Dane